Friday, October 19, 2007
THE JOYS OF SURIMI
Every now and then I crave Surimi. You may know it as Imitation Crab. I know it as delicious, sweet, chewy and shaped into a number of different personas. Since 2006, it's no longer known as "imitation." Now, they'll (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration) refer to it as "crab or lobster-flavored seafood, made with surimi, a fully cooked fish protein." Basically, it's heavily processed fodder fish that is low in fat and high in protein. Pretty healthy. I got into it when I was in college and looking for healthy cheap options for meals. It became a standby for me. Surimi shows up mostly in the U.S. in California Sushi Rolls, but it can be used in a myriad of dishes and sandwiches, such as the Lobster Roll I decided to make.
Surimi was created by the Japanese nearly 1000 years ago. It was perfected by a Japanese chemist in 1960 and helped to revitalize the Japanese fish industry.
Harold McGee, in his book On Food and Cooking, explains it as follows, "Surimi is made by finely mincing fish scraps (today, usually pollack), washing them, pressing them to remove the wash water, salting and seasoning the mince, shaping it, and boiling it until it solidifies. Washing the mince removes nearly everything from the muscle except the muscle fiber membranes and contracting proteins. Salting then dissolves the protein myosin out of the muscle fibers, so that when it's heated, the myosin will coagulate into a continuous, solid, elastic gel in which the other fiber materials are embedded. The result is a flavorless, colorless, homogenous matrix that can be flavored, colored, and formed to imitate nearly any seafood."
See. Easy as pie. Kind of like hot dogs. Or as McGee says, you're eating a "Matrix." Yum! For more info on the process click this link.
IMITATION LOBSTER ROLL or FISH MATRIX SANDWICH
I used the lobster flavored surimi in chunks and broke that up a bit in a bowl. I added a diced shallot, a very small amount of organic mayo, lime juice, 1/2 a minced jalapeno, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I didn't have a hot dog roll or brioche. I went healthy, with sprouted grain bread - though, I did butter it and grill it. Simple sandwich and simply satisfying.